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Building a challenge: How a hospital pioneered a medical innovation


When the CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Michigan asked for a new hospital building, the board came back with an unexpected challenge: "Build us something that’s never been seen before, something not made of bricks and mortar." David Bobryk, clinical informatics project manager at St. Joseph's explains how that challenge resulted in a medical innovation so useful and effective, it's being recognized nationwide.

David: Our mortality rates have decreased by 35%. Our code blues have cut in half. And during our study, which has been a four-year study, our case mix index has been increased by 22% from our baseline.

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David: My name is David Bobryk. I work at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. I'm their Clinical Informatics Project Manager.

Interviewer: Dave, tell me a little bit about the Wired Award that your institution just received.

David: So the one that we won for was our early warning detection system. This system, you actually wear it. It looks like an iPad Mini. It's able to take the vitals of a patient. So you get the blood pressure, the pulse rate, respiratory rate, pulse acts, and body temperature. It transmits it wirelessly to our electronic health record. And then we have a bidirectional interface with a system called Visensia, which is able to calculate a wellness score which shows the patients hemodynamic wellness.

The score ranges from 0 to 5. 0 to 2.9, it shows the cell that's in green, and it means the patients is doing well. If you're 3.0 to 5.0, that means the patient has the risk factors for clinical deterioration and need to be reassessed immediately. Since we've implemented this system, our mortality rates have decreased by 35%. Our code blues have cut in half. And during our study, which has been a four-year study, our case mix index has been increased by 22% from our baseline. So pretty powerful statistics that the systems actually working for us.

Interviewer: What was the spark for this project?

David: Our CEO Jack Weiner wanted a new facility. Our old building needed some renovation, and our board of directors came back to us and said, "We're not going to approve you putting up some brick and mortar. If you're going to build something, you have to build something no one has seen before." So that's kind of the mindset that we all had.

I was part of the technology team that was led by Dr. Fabian Fregoli and Robert Jones. We brought in vendors on a weekly basis. We talked about what was important to the patient. We brought in all of our clinical staff into our meetings, and we felt this was right for the patient, and the data seems to show that.

Interviewer: Well, congratulations on your award. And if people want to know more about that how can they find out more?

David: We have our website. It's St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital. If you type that into Google, it'll come up. Or put in St. Joseph Mercy Health System. And Tyrone Andrews is our Marketing Director, and he'd be glad to, even if you guys want any tours, any one in the Michigan area, he'd be glad to arrange something.

Interviewer: And is this something that people can use in their hospitals? Is it patented? Or is it transferrable?

David: Absolutely. Yeah. No, anyone can use this. We're the first hospital to start using this technology with the Visensia and the busy mobile system connected together. And I think once the data comes out, more people recognize it. It's very easily transferrable to other institutions. The technology and algorithms are already developed.

It's a matter of really working with your staff. You might have to tweak some of your interfaces if you don't have the same electronic health record that we do. But really it's mostly just training with the staff on how to understand what those values are telling you and how to react to them.

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By: Kathy Wilets